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Nelson Mandela's legacy
06/12/2013 08:26:00


The death of Nelson Mandela last night after a long illness is a sad moment for his family obviously and for South Africans for whom he was the father of the nation, but also for people all over the world for whom he was an example of all that is best in humanity.

He will surely remembered as one of the greatest figures of the 20th Century. He led the campaign against a monstrous evil, a regime that judged people's worth by the colour of the skin.

For that alone he would deserve his place in history. But what really set him apart was how he behaved in victory. How many of us would be able to show such forgiveness to those who had wronged us?

At a time when politics is held in such low regard, he is an example of the transformative power of inspirational political leadership. But more than that, he is an example to all of us as human beings of the need to set aside hate. For me, of all the moving and inspiring things he said, this is the most powerful:

"I knew that if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison".

Rest in peace Madiba.

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Readers' Comments

On 09/12/2013 15:48:00 Anthony Miller wrote:
It must be surreal for young people in today’s world of cameras virtually everywhere to try to comprehend what it is like to keep hearing in the media about a man who’s been in prison for (in the end) 27 years but never seeing him. They literally sent him to an island to try and hide him – yet they didn’t quite have the guts to kill him because they feared the public reaction. So simply existing was his resistance – he was a living political embodiment of potentially massive unrest.

The thing that set him apart is not just his trial or imprisonment or that the South African Apartheid regime suppressed his image and incarcerated him for so long… it is that when he did finally emerge his semi-mythical status and the expectations he had to live up to were so enormous no one thought he could …and yet he did. This is what makes him a towering, not just a tall, figure - that after all that he didn’t disappoint and did live up to the expectations.

We’re so used to being let down by politicians and other people in general that …people who don’t let you down are very rare indeed.

On 11/12/2013 13:58:00 Jim wrote:
A right 'ole jamboree for the lefty BBC. Pretty much halted proper news coverage so they can pack their staff off on a jolly. Despite that, the stadium was still half-empty during his memorial service. Cameron - as ever the idiot - taking pics of himself. You never know with Cameron is he just crass, or just on some misguided attempt to appear trendy.



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Gavin Barwell, House of Commons, SW1A 1AA, Tel  020 8660 0491      © Gavin Barwell  2017       Promoted by Ian Parker on behalf of Gavin Barwell, both at 36 Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 2LG